Sunday, May 20, 2018

Thankful Sunday--May 20,2018

I am thankful for small towns and friendly people.

I talked to this man about tying fishing ties. 
Recently, I spent a few days with my mother celebrating Mother's Day. As you may know, my mother still lives in the small West Virginia town I grew up in. Often during my visits, I run into several people that I know, or knew my sisters, or worked with my mother, or used to trade with my father (he was a big barterer), etc. This time I didn't see many people that I knew, but I found plenty of people to talk to all the same.

On Saturday the weather was warm, so Ward and I decided to take a walk to visit two flea markets that were going on that day. The first one was indoors and filled with craftsmen as well as others selling used wares. Everyone was friendly and chatted like we were old friends.  I had conversations with several people where I learned about their crafts, their cookie recipes, and the ages of their grandchildren. Ward struck up a conversation with another man selling tools and learned about his woodworking and his plans to move.  All of our conversations were relaxed, casual conversions like we had been friends for a long time.

When we finished there, we proceeded to the other flea market on the other end of town  (3 1/2 blocks away). On the way, we ran into the Boy Scout car wash where Ward spent time talking with one of the leaders about the value of the program, controlling boys, and a scout master that they both knew. He happened to be my mother's doctor and had saved the life of this man's son. Ward, who is most comfortable in the background during these visits, was surprised and pleased that he was making connections, too.

The poultry seller had some baby ducks
that were very cute.
The other flea market was a more casual style with a bit of anything and everything there. Among other things, we saw plants, chickens, produce, car parts, glassware, and toys. The conversations flowed easily here, also. One man told me how to stop deer from eating my plants and another told me about how he maintains the family cemetery. We were impressed with the girl selling hot dogs with her brother to earn money to study a semester in Italy. That's where we had lunch before we went home to escape the heat.

Once we got in the cool house, the good feelings continued. There were several neighborhood kids out playing and listening to them took me back to when I was a kid playing on the same street. Nothing electronic in sight. Kids of various ages were racing their bikes, playing hide and seek, and passing balls. The older ones looked out for the younger ones and even though there was lots of noise, it was happy noise with only an occasional dispute. I haven't seen or heard kids play like that in a long time.

A lot has changed in my hometown since I lived there and it has its fair share of problems, but during my recent visit, I enjoyed the friendliness of the people and the slower way of life. And for that I am thankful.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Second Look, Thursday, May 10,2018

This has been a particularly bad allergy season in the east this year. The experts say that is because of earlier cold weather which has everything blooming at the same time. I'd have to agree with that. A few days ago, all of the fruit trees were finally blooming and I just turned around and many other things have joined. Below are some of the things I found today when I took a Second Look.

The dogwoods, while still pretty, are past their prime. I had been meaning to take a picture of them the last couple of days, but didn't make it.

The lilacs are in full bloom now, enough so, that these blooms have bent down the branch.

I got these Lily of the Valley from a friend last year and I thought they didn't survive the transplant, but here they are. What a pleasant surprise.

While I'm still figuring out how to control this ground cover, Yellow Archangel, I am enjoying its blooms.

This side corner of the house shows two colors of azaleas, two kinds of nandinas, and a light color of lilacs. A nice, out of the way bit of color./

Azaleas are also providing color in front of the house.

A close up of the above blooms. When I was looking at the three different azaleas plants this afternoon, I was convinced that they had totally different forms of blooms on their branches and I was all excited about noticing this difference. Upon closer examination, they were more alike than they were different. The actual blooms were different colors and sizes, but those were all of the major differences I could see. You should have heard the story I had made up about them.

A prolific bloomer that looks very similar to the azaleas above but just a little behind in timing.

This one is the slowest to bloom.

The wren has started laying eggs. I anticipate more that these.

Monday, May 7, 2018


or Do You Use Words Like You Used To

Love, Hate = like, annoyed

I think we have all noticed that the media uses tantalizing headlines to attract us. That trick has been around for a very long time but started getting worse when we added the choice of cable news to the three network broadcasts. Soon social media evolved and information flew from everyone and anyone around the globe at lightning speeds. With all of these sources available, words got more and more provocative as everyone was trying to get our attention. Simply put, a war of hyperbole of words was on. Consequently, I think a lot of them lost their meaning.

I've been thinking about this because I noticed that I don't use some words the way I used to. For example, I say I love or hate something frequently which usually means I like or dislike something, or probably more correctly, I find something annoying. That is not the way I have always used these words.

When I was a child and into my adulthood, love and hate were very powerful words and reserved for intense feelings. I didn't say I loved something, say, as casual as ice cream. Love was reserved for intense emotions, usually applied to my family. I rarely said the word, hate. It was almost considered a bad word because my parents told me that you could usually find some good in everything and everyone. Today I use love and hate in watered-down ways. Two of my intense words don't meant what they used to.

While my changes seem small, they are noticeable to me all the same. I wonder if I've changed because of the outside world or for some other reason. I'll have to think about this and see if I notice similar changes with other words.

In the meantime, have you noticed that you use words differently today in this world of hyperbole?

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Thankful Sunday, May 6, 2018

I am thankful for the beauty surrounding me.

Spring has presented itself in all of its glory this week in my yard. 
And for that I am thankful.

Two crabapple trees are in full bloom.

Two apple trees are also blooming but they don't have as many blooms as the crabapples.

But the sour cherry tree is filled with blossoms.

The grape hyacinth are dotting the yard here and there.

As are the wildflowers.

This is one of several different kinds of lilacs that are starting to bloom.

The pansies I planted last fall are blooming again.

A wren has starting building its nest here

And a bluebird has started in this box.

On the other side of the yard, an egg shell from a nest that has already been used.

And a daytime moon.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A good time was had by all

I mentioned that we were going away for a few days. Our trip was to Pensacola, Florida, to see my niece graduate from flight school. She is in the Coast Guard and plans to fly helicopters on rescue missions. We had four generations of Ward's family there which was part of the fun. We rented a house and when we weren't out and about there was time for sharing stories, both present and past. The fourth generation was a four month old baby with a very calm, adaptable disposition that did not hamper any activities. Very different than the babies I had and a welcome addition.

I was not exactly in my element during this trip. For example, I didn't understand the different military branches and their different rank designations. I was among service people from the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, Italian Navy, and the Saudi Arabia Military. My knowledge went as far as recognizing the flags from different countries. I didn't know any of the aircraft kinds beyond plane and helicopter.  All of the number and letter designations meant nothing to me.

I did not have a hankering for freshly caught sea food like Ward and the others did, but I had some good salads while they enjoyed the catch of the day. I didn't want to go to the beach like the rest of the crowd, but I slathered up with sunscreen and went with them to see the baby experience her first time in sand and the first time in the ocean. She didn't like it much, but her parents were fun to watch as they hung on every expression the baby made.

But despite my hesitation, I enjoyed all of the above activities. And I also liked the things we did that were more my style. We took a walk every morning in the pleasant neighborhood where we were staying. We visited houses and museums in historic Pensacola and worked a jig saw puzzle. We talked. We talked about the baby and how remarkable she was. (The only thing better than watching first time parents is watching first time grandparents.) We heard stories from the Ward's father about being stuck in jungles of Peru and his travel around the world in different military aircraft. He was a civilian for the Army and he (his lab) developed night vision goggles. Some of his travel was to help implement the use of them.

It was a great trip and a good time was had by all. Below are a few picture from it. 

I'm not sure what kind of helicopter this is but my niece will be flying
a Dolphin helicopter in her next assignment.

After a day of festivities with the graduation, we headed to downtown, historic Pensacola. Our first stop was this church which has had some kind of religious activity here since 1763. That's our tour guide telling about the history of Pensacola (five flags have flown over it) and the history of the church.

Next stop was the Victorian Dorr House. A fairly typical Victorian house including art made from dead relatives hair.

From the Dorr house, we visited the Museum of Industry that showcased early industry including brick making, fishing, and logging. This is one of the machines used on the logs but I can't remember exactly what it does.

Then onto the museum that everyone was really waiting for, The Naval Air Aviation Museum. Ward and our nephew spent a while with this jet discussing its various specs as well as every other flying vehicle they saw. I learned that this is called a fixed-wing aircraft.

And this is called a rotor-wing aircraft. See, I'm learning.

The next day we went to one of the beautiful, white sand beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. The water was a little cold, so no one was too excited about jumping right in. Extra points if you can identify the baby, the mother, and the grandmother.